Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I am very well aware that there are so many conflicts occurring that it is hard to keep track of them all.  This new world era of geopolitical hegemony is tricky. Yet still, of all of the conflicts I am having a problem taking my eyes off of India and Pakistan. Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad have been running high ever since India cracked down on protests in Indian-administered Kashmir in July.
Image result for india pakistan kashmir
Over the past month there have been several events that make this situation both interesting and frighten. There was an assault that occurred in Kashmir on sept 18 in which four gunmen took an Indian army brigade headquarters in the Indian controlled town of Uri which resulted in the death of 18 soldiers. Although no one claimed responsibility for the attack, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's accused Pakistan and even called it a terrorist state for supporting the individuals Modi believed were behind the attack. The Modi administration purports that the attack was carried out by members of Jaish-e-Mohammed (a group based in Pakistan that has the aim of forcing the withdrawal of troops in India-controlled Kashmir). More recently, an Indian army brigade headquarters near the de factor border with Pakistan was attacked which left 17 soldiers dead in the northern region of Kashmir.

Then on the 21st of October, seven Pakistani Rangers were killed and three others injured when the Border Security Force (BSF) of India retaliated shelled and fired from across the International Border at locations near and around the Kathua and Jammu districts of Kashmir. The only information that has been proffered is that Islamabad has rejected all allegations made by New Delhi's in an effort to take attention away from human rights violations in Indian-controlled Kashmir, while Pakistan has asserted that the Indian Army is just firing at citizens and military outpost without provocation.

Whatever the case and whoever fired first, this is getting in dangerous territory. From what I have read, there have been at least four wars between India and Pakistan, if not more if I included other minor skirmishes. The first happened in 1947. This was called by many as the First Indo-Pakistani War. Like most wars it stated over some dumb shit – the belief that the royal leader of Kashmir would pledge his nation’s allegiance to India. He had the choice to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. The problem was that he was a Hindu and ruled a majority Muslim population and this was a no-no for Pakistan, so they attacked and occupied parts of Kashmir and this was the first war.  It took UN Security Council involvement for a formal cease-fire to occur and on New year’s eve  1949,  India gained control of about two-third of Kashmir and Pakistan a third. The second war occurred in 1965 after Pakistan's military joined with militants from Jammu and Kashmir to start an insurgency against Indian rule in the region. This resulted in India launching a full-scale military attack on what was then West Pakistan. Although it only lasted for a week, the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War resulted in thousands of casualties and was considered by some historians to have been the largest tank battle since World War II. The war only ended after the Soviet Union and USA got involved to negotiate a truce between Islamabad and New Delhi. Believe it or not, the same thing happened again in 1971 and 1991.

The new region at issue is the border along the Himalayan Rivers. Just this week seven civilians, including two minors, were killed and several others wounded when Pakistani troops shelled several districts along the border. This was not the first time Pakistani troops have shelled the area or broken the ceasefire. It has been reported that India Border Security Force destroyed 14 Pakistani posts when they responded with heavy mortar fire.

It seems that almost daily we are getting information regarding either one side shooting or shelling the other side. Most recently involved Pakistani officials say Indian troops have opened fire across the Line of Control in the disputed region regularly and they continue to respond with heavy fire as a consequence.

I cannot imagine either side wanting a war.  The major issue for me is that both are nuclear powers – yes, both have the bomb(s). On bare equipment, I would think that Pakistan wouldn’t even want to engage India in a war.  India has a clearly larger military and more money. Many around the globe consider India’s economy as being more stable than its neighbor and one of the fastest growing economies in the world in the last decade. India also has several other advantages: India has a population of 1.2 Billion compared to 199 million for Pakistan; India has military aircraft- 2,086 compared to less than 1000 for Pakistan and Indian spends around 40 billion annually on its military compared to around 7 billion for Pakistan.

Likewise, India has enough problems on its hands after this past summer and its violent and bloody response to protest by the oppressed citizens of Kashmir, ever since military and police killed a young leader sparked uprisings across the Kashmir region which has resulted In the deaths of around 100 people, leaving hundreds of other blinded.  By some estimates, over the past several months almost 20,000 (adults and children) have been injured, and several thousand placed under arrest spending and living the past months under curfews in Kashmir.


With all of the violence presently happening in the world, especially in the region many call the Middle East, it is extremely important that we keep an eye on this, for history has shown us the region of Kashmir is a hotbed and its people crave independence away from India at any cost. In addition, it doesn’t take much for Islamabad and New Delhi to go to war with each other, and maybe even making use of the nuclear option. There have already been four significant wars between the two nations over the past 70 years, I just wonder if we may be seeing the start of the fifth.

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